This subject has been debated endlessly by Witnesses confronting
"Born-Agains". Fundamentalists quote texts about salvation
by faith and Witnesses counter with James' statements about
I am inclined to ignore the competing (or contradictory )
scriptures and simply look at the results of each approach.
Yes, Witnesses count up lots of hours spent in the "ministry"
selling books and magazines door-to-door. After years of being
a pioneer and an elder I don't find these statistics credible.
More than that, compare the growth rates of Witnesses with
many groups like Pentecostals, Mormons, and others. The guilt-
enforced door to door work just isn't very effective - compared
with the simple word of mouth zeal found in various Protestant
Other activities that are Christian "works" amoung Witnesses
don't look too great either. I knew some brothers who
organized witnessing in institutions like prisons or old-age
homes. Getting brothers to volunteer to visit and help was like
pulling teeth! They always found something else to do, even
if bible studies could be had just for asking. MEANWHILE,
the local fundies had no shortage of people willing to get
involved, week after week - often from different churches!
I actually think they did it because it made THEM HAPPY!
As for other works like helping with the chronically ill,
or charity, let's not even go there. "I have to go out in
service" is enough of an excuse for any elder to avoid
burdensome widows and orphans. Remember that these charitable
activities LITERALLY DON'T COUNT - you can't put them on your
service slip at the end of the month. In many cases, the
system simply works against good works this way. I think the
"born-agains" are better off with their own faith and joy
as motivations, however flawed that may be.